26. House of Tears: Why do we mistreat young mums?

26. House of Tears: Why do we mistreat young mums?

By BBC Radio 5 Live

Children are playing on the grounds of a former Irish Mother and Baby Home in Tuam when they find 20 tiny skeletons under a concrete slab. Stories follow that shock the world, of over 800 babies found in a septic tank. But who is to blame?

Years later, an investigation into the Bon Secours Home establishes that 978 babies and children died on the grounds while it was run by Catholic nuns. The 2021 report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes draws attention to the horrific treatment of unmarried mothers in Ireland throughout the 20th century, who often had nowhere to go but to these mismanaged and abusive homes.

The leader of Ireland, the Taoiseach, apologised for the profound and generational wrong which was the result of stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture. But, how did it get so far? And, what can we do to make sure such a situation doesn’t happen again?

In this episode of Bad People, criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen try to understand why society still judges young mums, examine the concept of coercive confinement, and explore research on religion-related child maltreatment.

This episode includes audio from a Video dramatization of individuals' stories produced by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.

Warning: This episode contains strong language and descriptions of violence


Presenters: Dr Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen Producer: Paula McGrath Artwork: Kingsley Nebechi Music: Matt Chandler Series Editor: Rami Tzabar

Academic Consultants for The Open University: Dr. Zoe Walkington Dr. Camilla Elphick

Commissioning Assistant Producer: Adam Eland Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps

Bad People is produced in partnership with The Open University and is a BBC Audio Science Production for BBC Sounds.


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